Thresholds

As the month of Elul comes to a close,

As the moon disappears from view,

The call of the shofar beckons.

Come close, it says; listen carefully.

Erase all distractions – the tiny details of preparation, the hugeness of the responsibilities.

God is calling for my return, for yours – calling us to remember, calling us up from the darkness of missed opportunities to days and life renewed.

I stand here, before the gates of the New Year,

My heart open, my voice trembling,

Filled with gratitude and joy.

Elul reflections

Today, I wrote on our synagogue blog, so please join me there –

The Scrolls of our Days.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Tishrei 8/September 12, 2013—  “Friends, what does it say about the people of Nineveh?  Not, ‘God saw their sackcloth and their fasting,’ but, ‘God saw their deeds—that they had turned back from their evil way (Jonah 3:10).’  And in  his admonition, the prophet says: ‘Rend your hearts, and not your garments. (Joel 2:13)’”      

(Mishnah)  

For reflection:  Where have you spoken of changes you want to make in yourself, but have not done so?  Be the change that you hope for.  The possibilities become limitless.   

Lasting Friendship

Tishrei 6/September 10, 2013—

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

(Proverbs 17:9)

For reflection:  Where we direct our attention, our actions follow and consequences ensue.  This is true well beyond friendships.  Can you recall a time when your attention or intention brought a change in your action?  Consider a current situation where you might give more positive attention to bring about forgiveness and healing.

 

Rebuke is Difficult to Give and Receive

Tishrei 5/September 9, 2013– Do not rebuke a scoffer, for that person will hate you.  Rebuke a wise person and that person will love you.

(Proverbs   9:8)

For reflection: Is there someone in your life from whom you would accept reproof?  Could you welcome it as a way for growth and improvement?  Is there someone to who, you could offer it and be received in this way?

See God’s Image in Everyone

Tishrei 2/September 6, 2013—  “Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)” Rabbi Akiba said: This is the greatest principle in the Torah. Ben Azzai quoted the verse: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In that day, God created human beings; in the likeness of God did God make him. (Genesis 5:1)” He said: This is a principle greater than that.

(Sifra on Leviticus 19:18)

For reflection: We will read the Leviticus passage on the afternoon of Yom Kippur. Atonement and forgiveness is bein adam laMakom _- between a person and God, and bein adam la-chaveiro _– between one person and another. Like you, your neighbor is a likeness of the Divine; therefore, look upon each person you encounter during these days knowing that to love them is to love God.

Consider what your life would be like if you lived each day knowing you were a manifestation of God. What could your life be like if you could remember that everyone and everything was a manifestation of God? How is it that it is so hard to remember this? What might you do differently this year to remember?

Shanah Tovah! – Preparation is the Key to Readiness

Tishrei 1/September 5, 2013—Rabbi Eliezer said: Let a person ever first prepare his or her prayer, and afterwards worship.

(Talmud, Rosh haShanah 33a)

For reflection: All of the preparation for the last 30 days has been for this moment. Let your heart be open, ready to be moved by the sound of the shofar calling you to account.

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